Appendix 14. Excreta pit (stools and vomit)

Select language:
On this page

    14.1 Choice of location

    – At least 30 metres away from all wells, boreholes and water sources
    – At least 5 metres away from all facilities
    – Easy access and ground that allows liquids to infiltrate into the soil

    14.2 Materials

    – Material to temporarily delimit the worksite (tape and posts)
    – Plastic sheeting
    – 1 or 2 x 200 litre metal drum(s) (if 2 drums, weld them together to form a cyclinder), with top and bottom removed and perforated all over to let liquids infiltrate
    – 120 litre plastic container with a lid, with a hole cut in the bottom to let liquid pass through, leaving a rim of 5 cm
    – Wood to construct the platform (frame and platform)
    – Sand bags (stabilised sand)
    – Gravel
    – Hammer, nails, wood saw, string, tape mesure, shovel, pick and crowbar

    14.3 Clearing the site

    – Remove all plants and debris. Level the ground. Delimit to ensure safety of the worksite.
    – Mark the perimeter of the pit on the ground (1 metre in diameter).
    – Dig the pit: mininum of 90 cm deep and maximum of 1.50 metres. The bottom of the pit must be 1.5 metres above the water table.
    – Insert the 1 or 2 metal drum(s).
    – Fill the empty space between the vertical walls of the pit and the drums with gravel.
    – Stack up 3 layers of sandbags, in staggered rows (the bags should not be placed one directly ontop of another, they must overlap) and leaving the pit off-centre (A).
    – Place a sandbag to fill the empty space between the side of the 120 litre container and the supporting structure formed by the other sand bags.
    – Cover the sandbags with plastic sheeting and spread it at least 60 cm into the first drum (C).
    – Place the wooden platform (B) on the sandbags covered in plastic sheeting (C).
    – Insert the 120 litre container into the wooden platform (C).


    Note: if the water table is too high to dig at least 90 cm into the ground, raise the supporting structure or choose another method of treating faeces and vomit.


    1.  Plastic sheeting
    2.  Wooden platform (25 x 100 mm)
    3.  Wooden structure (50 x 50 mm)
    4.  120 litre plastic container
    5.  Sand bags (stabilised sand)
    6.  200 litre metal drums
    7.  Gravel